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Thomas Lund's farewell

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Thomas Lund made his last appearances as a dancer with the RDB last night, dancing the Teacher in Flindt's The Lesson and James in La Sylphide. It was a highly emotional evening all round, ending with a huge ovation, lots of tears, a loving speech from Nikolaj Hubbe - and later a big back-stage party. Several people who post here were lucky enough to be there - Eva Kistrup is the first to file a report.

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Thanks so much for posting this link today -- I was so glad to hear about this performance. And this comment, hinting that Lund may return for some character parts:

"And Thomas Lund has not totally closed the door to do the odd troll role."

made me smile. Here's hoping for an odd troll or two!

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Yes, it was indeed a fantastic night! I was so lucky to be there too. We will miss him terribly. He has always been a very special dancer, somehow unmistakably his own in style and appearance. And it was very emotional to see him dance with Gudrun Bojesen again (to my knowledge they haven't done that very often in recent years), because they are equally subtle in frasing, style and musicality.

The Danish newspaper "Politiken" reported on the occasion a couple of days later, and the article was accompanied by a really good picture from the celebration after the finale:

Nearly all the ballerinas Lund has danced with during the years appeared on stage one by one and gave him a red rose. After the 24 ballerinas, "Bamse", an oversized teddybear, and his two likewise oversized friends "Chick" and "Duckling" made their entrance on the stage. "Bamse", Chick" and "Duckling" have their own extremely popular television programme, and they are also the leading characters in Lund's children's ballet "Teddy goes ballet!". It was a great surprise to both the audience and visibly also to Lund, and brought some relieving laughter to the whole occasion.

The picture in Politiken has catched this moment brilliantly: article and picture

(If you are curious about "Teddy goes ballet" follow this link: Teddy goes ballet: There are lots of pictures and a video if you scroll down. If you'd like an English translation you can just click on the English flag in the top right corner - but then pictures and video disappears!)

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Bing translates the Hubbe quote, part of a longer address Hubbe -- voice breaking, hands shaking, and tears rolling -- made to Lund during the tribute to him:

»En sjælden gang kommer der en kunstner, som publikum tager til sig som en gave. Du har været den mest elskede danser af dem alle, både på og uden for scenen«, sagde balletmester Nikolaj Hübbe, mens han kæmpede for at få styr på stemmen under aftenens maratonapplaus.

» A rare time comes there a artist that the audience takes to itself as a gift. You have been the most beloved dancer of them all, both on and offstage, "said Nikolaj Hübbe as balletmaster he fought to take control of your voice during this evening's Marathon round of applause.

My nighttime photo was, sadly, an unreadable blur, but here is a clearer daytime photo of the announcement board to the right of the theater entrance:


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Many thanks to both you, Jane, and you, Eva, for your loving portraits, which, for me, put so beautifully in words what is so very special about this dancer. And you also made it clear, how impossible it is to make a single evening's programme cover the full range of an artist like Thomas Lund. I personally would have loved to see him just once more in a Balanchine or Robbins ballet, which suits him so well (or is it the other way round?), because he brings an almost spontaneous air to them, which makes the steps look fresh and new, like he is kind of inventing them on the spot. To me that is among the things which mark a great artist: that the many hours of preparation doesn't make the result look calculated or routined.

And, what a wonderful photo from the celebration, where Thomas gets a "tour en l'air" by his colleagues!

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I was so sorry I could not be there to see this, but I'm very grateful to those who went -- thank you all for your comments, and Jane and Eva for your beautiful pieces. Thomas Lund is certainly a fine artist -- and a very Danish one, not only because of his brilliant beats, of course, but because of his humanity and his way of becoming a character. I've known him from the time he was 15; we had a photo of him at that age in the 1992 DanceView devoted to the Royal Danish Ballet and the Bournonville Festival. One of his teachers, Margaret Mercier (who I'll bet was there for the farewell) pointed him out to me, calling him "beautiful Thomas". Teachers often know smile.png I got to know him a bit more, two years later, because he worked with Henning Kronstam the last month of Kronstam's life, and learned a lot from him.

Thomas Lund had a wonderful career, and I'm very happy that he will be a guardian of the tradition he embodies.

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